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What to Wear Under Your Graduation Gown

Maddie Moore
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In the 12th and 13th centuries, when academic dress for graduation ceremonies first began, the scholars receiving their diplomas wore long gowns to fend off the cold. Although the world has since put our degrees to work and learned how to better control the temperature of our rooms, the traditional academic garb of caps and gowns has stuck around. While it certainly looks nice having everyone in uniform school colors, you can still bring a little personality to your look.

It comes in the form of what you choose to wear under your gown.

Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash.

If you’re not sure where to start but you still want to look fly at your graduation ceremony, we’ve got your back.


Most women graduates wear slacks, a dress, or a skirt and blouse with a pair of sensible heels under their gowns, but be very careful when it comes to shoe selection. You want to dress well and look nice, but you definitely don’t want your feet to be killing you at the end of the day, or worse — trip walking across the stage to grab your diploma! *knocks on wood*

As for your hairstyle, keep in mind that you cap will be on most of the day, so style your hair in a way that allows the cap to stay on. Sadly, ponytails and updos will not be invited to your commencement ceremony. But remember to bring a few bobby pins with you to secure that cap to your hair!


You’ll find most graduating men wearing dark trousers or khakis and a dress shirt and tie. Keep it dapper and spiffy with a pair of loafers or dress shoes. Remember to iron everything before you wear it — the last thing you want is to look like you slept in your grad outfit in all your photos.

You’ve just pulled off something incredible, and now it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends.

No matter what you end up wearing, be sure to take lots of pictures — especially if you decorated your mortarboard like one of these people did. Your graduation is a day you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life. Congrats, grad!

And remember: tassel goes right, then left. 🙂

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